Inside Science - Smithsonian Associates Science Literacy
Science & Nature Programs
The Sputnik Years

When a Russian rocket lofted Sputnik 1 into orbit on October 4, 1957, the Space Age—and the Space Race—had begun. Explore the events leading up to Sputnik's launch, the political fallout that led to America's response (Explorer 1), the formation of NASA, and the role that everyday citizens played in tracking the first satellites.

Date
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
What Dinosaurs Tell Us

What can long-dead animals teach us? Plenty, according to paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara—including helping us to understand the planet’s geological origins, the nature of deep time, the meaning of fossils, and our own place on Earth.

Date
Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
De-extinction: Genomic Engineering of Mammoth Proportions

Geneticist George Church, one of the founders of the Human Genome Project, discusses how research into DNA sequencing might hold the key to bringing back the woolly mammoth. Author Ben Mezrich, who has chronicled the project in a book, and Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic magazine, are part of the conversation.

Date
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Kayaking the Potomac: A New View of the Capital
Weekend Tour

Experience some of Washington’s most distinctive landmarks from a different perspective—a kayak on the Potomac. Judy Lathrop, a certified interpretive guide and kayak instructor, weaves together urban, cultural, and natural history to create a unique portrait of the capital city, its people, and its most famous river. 

Date
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Make the Most of Your Memory: The Science and Strategies You Need To Remember

Memory is critical to every insight and idea we will ever have. And the better memory is, the better the mind functions. Peter Vishton, associate professor in the department of psychology at William and Mary, shares the science of how human memory functions and how we can enhance memory and reduce forgetfulness.

Date
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Kayaking the Potomac: A New View of the Capital
Weekend Tour

Experience some of Washington’s most distinctive landmarks from a different perspective—a kayak on the Potomac. Judy Lathrop, a certified interpretive guide and kayak instructor, weaves together urban, cultural, and natural history to create a unique portrait of the capital city, its people, and its most famous river. 

Date
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Kayaking the Potomac: A New View of the Capital
Weekend Tour

Experience some of Washington’s most distinctive landmarks from a different perspective—a kayak on the Potomac. Judy Lathrop, a certified interpretive guide and kayak instructor, weaves together urban, cultural, and natural history to create a unique portrait of the capital city, its people, and its most famous river. 

Date
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Kayaking the Potomac: A New View of the Capital
Weekend Tour

Experience some of Washington’s most distinctive landmarks from a different perspective—a kayak on the Potomac. Judy Lathrop, a certified interpretive guide and kayak instructor, weaves together urban, cultural, and natural history to create a unique portrait of the capital city, its people, and its most famous river. 

Date
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
String Theory Explained

In the last few decades, scientists have come to believe they have found the key that finally unlocks the secrets of the universe—dangling from something called string theory. Professor of physics Steven Gubser explains how string theory relates to the forces that drive the universe and also to the real world.

Date
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Mindshift: Learning How To Learn

This evening, Barbara Oakley shares insights into how everyone can learn how to learn, no matter your age or stage of life.  You’ll walk away with practical tools based on solid research—and you’ll have fun along the way!

Date
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Chasing the Ghost of the China Clipper
All-Day Tour

Led by transportation expert Scott Hercik, learn about the beginning of trans-Pacific commercial aviation and the four-engine flying boats, the legendary Clipper line that pioneered the launch, during this visit to the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.

Date
Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
How the Brain Works

Neuroscientist Moran Cerf looks at how the brain influences behavior, emotion, decision-making, and dreams. He also offers a new perspective on how much free will we have.

Date
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
A Spectacular Day at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
All-Day Tour

Spend a day at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation, for a chance to see eagles, falcons, hawks, and osprey soaring high over a mountaintop preserve aglow with fall foliage.

Date
Friday, October 27, 2017 - 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Urban Farming in DC: Rooftop Garden Tour and Workshop at H Street Farms

Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City, a District-based organization of urban farmers, offers a look at creative solutions to growing your own food or beautifying your small space. Bring home your own herb plantings to give you a head start.

Date
Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 2:00 p.m.
The Grisly World of Victorian Surgery

If you were unlucky enough to need surgery in the early 19th-century, you had more to fear than your malady: The procedure itself could kill you. Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris leads a fascinating Halloween-night excursion into the germ-ridden, dirty, and often-deadly Victorian operating room, where your surgeon made up for his lack of skill by some fairly gruesome means.

Date
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Scott Kelly: A Year in Space

The veteran of four space flights, astronaut Scott Kelly discusses the dangers, achievements, and physical and emotional challenges he encountered during his record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station.

Date
Friday, November 3, 2017 - 7:00 p.m.
Neuroscience and Art: A Creative Connection
2-Session Daytime Course

Merge recent findings on visual perception with familiar elements of art to discover how your landscape and still-life paintings can take on new and fresh creative edges.

Date
Tuesday, November 7 and 14, 2017 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Autumn Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island
Daytime Tour

Enjoy the magic of an autumn morning as author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around Roosevelt Island, a 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac.

Date
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Fate of Rome: Nature’s Triumph Over Human Ambition

The centuries-long dissolution of the Roman Empire was shaped not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. Classicist Kyle Harper traces how a seemingly invincible empire fell victim to forces far stronger than its armies: those of the environment.

Date
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
What It’s Like To Be a Dog

What if we could actually know what was going on in our pets’ brains? It’s possible, according to neuroscientist Greg Berns. He shares stories about his research with dogs and other animals that reveal that complex intelligence is all around us.

Date
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.